Cotswolds- How we got there:
Oh man, y’all. I didn’t think this one through at all. When I planned this trip I was all like yeaaaaa we’re gonna be like the movie “The Holiday” and roll up to this little village on the English countryside and it’s gonna be amazing! Let me back-peddle and say that when I fist booked our Christmas Eurotrip, I didn’t really think about things being closed so I just went along my merry way and planned everything as if normal day-to-day things would be operating. What I didn’t realize is that the train system takes Christmas day off and the day after Christmas the routes are limited, so when I was trying to plan our train ride from London to Cheltenham (the biggest city neat the Cotswolds) I was realizing that there were no trains available that day. Ok, “no problem” I thought to myself as I started to look into renting a car. I was having major National Lampoon thoughts and was excited at the chance to skirt around in a small European compact car. I started looking on all of the major websites and found a common theme among them all “no cars available”. Uhhhh what? Apparently everyone in the city rents cars to go visit family for Christmas, so we were SOL there with getting a rental car. I was beginning to think we were gonna have to hitchhike to the Cotswolds and then I had a random thought, “WHAT ABOUT A BUS?”. Now we’re talking! Let me tell you, National Express bus line came to the rescue and that trip was the easiest, smoothest, quietest bus ride ever and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I think our total for both me and Rob was around $75.00 and the bus was super clean and nice. We caught it from the Victoria Bus Station in London and we were dropped off at the Cheltenham bus station where we were then ripped off by a local cabby who was also moonlighting as an artist who draws vegetables in his cab because he said he received a message from another spirit who told him to start drawing vegetables.
Cotswolds- Where we stayed:
I went back and forth for about a month on what exact Cotswolds village we wanted to stay in. If you aren’t familiar, the Cotswolds is a huge area in the English Countryside comprised of tons of little villages that are like stepping back in time. The Cotswolds is a rural area of south central England covering parts of 6 counties, notably Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. Its rolling hills and grassland thatched medieval villages, churches and stately homes built of distinctive local yellow limestone. If you’ve see The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, that is where she stays in the cottage.
Basically I wanted to be in a picturesque Cotswolds village that was quaint, but that was also big enough to have restaurants and things to do since we wouldn’t have a car. I went back and forth over Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Tetbury, and a couple of other villages. Ultimately I decided on Bourton-on-the-Water because of its proximity to Cheltenham (the only city with a big train station). We really did enjoy Bourton-on-the-Water and there were some adorable little shops and restaurants along the river that runs through the middle of the town.
I ended up finding the Mousetrap Inn on some random travel website that said it was little pub with rooms on the upper floor located in the main part of Bourton-on-the-Water. We really loved our stay at Mousetrap Inn and loved our cozy little room that looked out onto the main street in the town. We actually had dinner down at the pub one night and it was honestly my favorite meal from the whole entire trip. The Mousetrap Inn is known for being dog friendly, so there were always dogs downstairs which made me happy.
Cotswolds- What we did:
Because we went the day after Christmas, there really wasn’t much that was open as far as activities. We basically just walked around, shopped at the little shops, and ate out. We really enjoyed just walking along the river and walking down the public footpaths that would sometimes lead to people’s country estates. Of course I was super nosy and would keep walking to see how much I could see of the estates. We saw so many people with dogs and we would always stop and pet the dogs and talk to the owners. Everyone in the town was so friendly and I’m not sure if most people actually live there full time or if they just vacation there from the city, but it reminded me a lot of a small town in the south would be in the states.
We also found the most RANDOM thing ever called The Model Village, which is an exact replica of the entire town of Bourton-on-the-Water. The Model Village is a one-ninth scale replica of the heart of the beautiful Cotswold village containing all the buildings from the Old Water Mill (now the Car Museum) down to the Old New Inn and the ford, all built in Cotswold stone. It was really interesting and fun to walk around the village and I was glad to have something to do to be honest.
Cotswolds- What we ate:
When we first arrived into town we were absolutely starving and we just walked down to a random restaurant called de la Haye’s and it ended up being really good! I got the crumpets with butter and jam and Rob got a pasta dish. I am guessing that place is pretty popular because it was packed when we got there and people were still waiting to come in when we left.
As I said earlier in this post, a lot of things were closed for the holiday. One night we waited until 8pm to start thinking about what we wanted for dinner and everything looked really dark down the street towards the main area. Rob told me to just go walk around and see if anything was open and much to my surprise, everything in the entire town was closed. It actually looked like a ghost town and all of the lights were turned off. We ended up going downstairs to the pub at Mousetrap Inn and they didn’t even have any food! Luckily, they had some bagged chips and that is exactly what we had for dinner that night. Lesson learned for next time!
Cotswolds- Overall impressions:
It was so cool to experience the Cotswolds and see the English countryside up close and personal. I think it would have been great to have a rental car so you could drive around to all of the different villages. Actually, I think the rental car would probably be the only way to go because even if you took a train or a bus (like we did), you’d still have to get a cab to the village you were staying in, and it wasn’t a cheap cab ride. If you’re planning to visit this area, I’d reserve your rental car months ahead of time since we had so much trouble finding a rental car.
Have you been to this part of England? Would you go? Let me know in the comments!